Learning to Protect & Nurture Yourself

Warm Afternoon (1978) by Winslow Homer

The idea of self-care attracts so much scorn online. Our culture reflexively insults anything that sounds remotely like a woman thing, of course, but it goes beyond that. We actually confuse self-protection, self-acceptance, strong boundaries, and personal enjoyment with selfishness, particularly in women.

It’s no wonder so many of us start to associate pleasing ourselves with becoming some form of non-compliant misfit who takes too many bubble baths. But once you start to understand (and feel inside your cells!) that you actually deserve to seek out joy and satisfaction, a veil is lifted. Suddenly you recognize how you compulsively block your own path to happiness out of some misguided compulsion to stay small and serve others.

This is another huge topic, but I thought that, given today’s Ask Polly on addiction, codependence, and blame, it might be good to talk about the ways we punish ourselves (often without noticing) and also discuss how to resist those bad habits and treat ourselves with care instead.